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28 Apr 2017
by CARPology
15 steps to catching more fish on Zig Rigs
We give you fifteen top tips to help you catch more fish with zig rigs!

1. Use the right hooklink material

It’s essential to reduce the chances of the fish seeing a long hooklink rising from the lakebed, up to the hookbait by using the right hooklink material. Pre-stretched, low-diameter monofilament lines are best, with 10lb breaking strain a good starting point. Although you may find you need to step-up to 12lb versions in weedy conditions or scale down to 8lb when the fish are edgy. Fluorocarbon is a no-no as it’ll sink.

2. Use the right style and size of hook

Size 8 hooks or smaller are perfect for Zig Rigs, as they will match a small hookbait well and be less likely to be seen and spook fish or neutralise the hookbaits buoyancy.

Don’t be put off by size 10 or 12 hooks when bites are slow as small hooks are often the sharpest. Once they’re in they aren’t coming out! Short shank hooks with a wide gape will also work best, creating a claw-like effect to grab hold in the fish’s mouth.

3. Widen the gape of the hook

To increase a hook’s gape and in-turn the chances of grabbing hold when a fish sucks it in, add a short piece of silicone to the hooks eye. This will cause the hooklink to exit the hook at a much straighter angle, increasing the gape and improving the hooking potential. It can also give the effect of an insect head or body. Fox Zig Aligners are perfect for this and also provide easy attachment for foam hookbaits.

4. Fish a tight line

Hooked on a long hooklink, a carp can move a long way before it moves the lead and the main line to give you any bite indication on the bank. To increase the sensitivity of bite indication, fish a ‘bow-string’ tight line, as tight as you can get it without moving the lead. A single bleep often means fish on, with drop-back bites common. Hooking resistance is also improved, increasing the potential of a strong hook hold.

5. Drop the lead

Once you’ve hooked a carp on a Zig Rig the casting lead can cause some real problems – especially on longer Zigs. Trailing a long way from the fish’s mouth during the fight, there’s a good chance of it swinging and pulling out a small hook catching weed or underwater snags. So in most cases, it’s far better to drop the lead by using a lead clip and loose tail rubber set to lose the lead on the take.

6. Use an adjustable zig in deep water

This set-up has the major advantage of being able to alter the height of the Zig hookbait after it’s been cast out. So great for fishing deep water where fish near the surface could be ten-feet-plus off the deck. With a three-foot hooklink attached to the adjustable float you can easily raise the Zig into this zone without the need for a really long link. You can also search the layers to locate the fish and bite ‘hot-zone’.

7. Make casting easier

Due to the long hooklink, the hook can easily snag on bank debris during the cast – things like leaves or worse still your bivvy. Placing the hookbait in a mug, on a bucket lid or wading in the water so the hookbait floats on the surface can help, but here’s our favourite method. Simply cut a PVA nugget in half and tie-up both parts in PVA mesh. Hook on and cast off the ground without fear of snagging-up.

8. Match the naturals

There are lots of different reasons why carp may take a Zig Rig hookbait: curiosity, smell or colour, but one is most certainly the fact that a small mid-water hookbait mimics hatching invertebrates and natural foods. The range of Zig Bugs from Nash are perfect for this precise approach of replicating suspended insect larvae and natural foods. Taking a bare piece of foam to another much higher level of presentation.

9. Use a flavour dip

One of the great things about buoyant Zig hookbaits such as pop-ups, cork, Bugs and especially foam is that they all absorb a liquid flavour really well. Zig Juice from Nash is a specially formulated liquid for adding attraction to Zig Bugs and other hookbaits. Mainline Baits Multi-Stim liquid is a fantastic base for adding a liquid flavour, meaning you can create a custom soak to boost the attraction of the Zig.

10. Cloud-up the water

When fish are feeding on the bottom, it’s a lot easier trying to hold them in your swim, as you can apply a bed of bait. But that’s a little trickier to do when the fish are located in the upper-layers. Clouding-up the water is one good way to not only draw fish to the area of your Zigs, but also hold them there. A sloppy groundbait mix is perfect for this - disguising the Zigs, as well as creating masses of attraction.

11. Allow some movement

Small hooks and long hooklinks do make it pretty easy for the carp to deal with Zigs, especially on venues pressured with Zigs. The feeling of the lead can be a telling sign that something is wrong and the carp needs to spit out the Zig. Adding around ten-inches of tungsten tubing to the hooklink near the lead or a Nash Zig Link, sinks that section of line. Giving a hooked carp a little room to move before feeling the lead.

12. Fish Zigs on all your rods

The biggest mistake made by anglers with Zigs is only (half-heartedly) trying them on one rod within their set-up. This drastically reduces the chances of finding that all-important depth that will keep the bites coming. So go ‘all-in’ and fish Zigs on all rods, varying the depth on each and keep varying the depth until you receive action. After which point change all rods to the same depth.

13. Be prepared

Fish can be on the bottom one minute and with a short spell of sunshine, up near the surface the next – just one of the reasons it pays to have a few Zigs ready tied. Disc like storage systems are perfect for keeping tied Zigs ready for action, as they don’t put any kinks into the hooklink that will stand out like a sore thumb underwater. You’re also more likely to use one when it’s ready to go at a moments notice.

14. Alternate the hookbait colour

When you do make the decision to go with a Zig Rig approach try a different coloured hookbait on each rod. Just like bottom bait hookbaits, you never know which colour is most likely to appeal or stand out best to the carp. Varying light levels, light penetration, water clarity and most of all whether its day or night, are all factors that can have a dramatic effect on what colour is best. It’s also worth combining colours.

15. Fish them over depth

When carp are really high in the water, fishing over depth Zigs where the hooklink is long enough to place the hookbait on the surface can be an awesome tactic. An especially good method at times when fish are cruising on the top, but at a range too far from the bank for standard surface tactics. This is a great tactic at night when you can’t see to strike and set the hook with a conventional surface fishing set-up.

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